Quality Chess Newsletter – six new books and much analysis

Dear Quality Chess Reader,

In the long gap since our previous newsletter we have kept busy editing and publishing books. We also managed to move office; our fancy computers survived the trip, so we’ll call the move a success and forget the logistical chaos.

Our recent books include:

Boris Avrukh’s two volumes on the Grünfeld: Grandmaster Repertoire 8 and Grandmaster Repertoire 9. Avrukh’s previous books on 1.d4 were universally praised, so his latest efforts were highly anticipated. We believe Boris has at least matched and perhaps exceeded his earlier standard. See what you think.

Tibor Karolyi also has a new two-volume series. Karpov’s Strategic Wins 1 – The Making of a Champion and Karpov’s Strategic Wins 2 – The Prime Years. The reviews have been ecstatic.

The Grandmaster Battle Manual by Vassilios Kotronias is a profound exploration and explanation of the lessons the Greek GM has learned in his years as a professional player.

Tactimania by GM Glenn Flear is a fun and original puzzle book. The manga-style art on the cover and throughout seems to have misled some into thinking it’s a book for children. Not so. It’s for all those who want to test their tactical mettle. If you enjoy Japanese-style art, then that’s just a bonus.

Since it has been a while since our last missive, we have a bumper collection of games and analysis in pdf or pgn format. The pdf stretches to 50 pages, so it’s really a small book. There is so much analysis that it is tough to pick a highlight, but perhaps many will be interested in GM Boris Avrukh’s analysis of Giri-Swinkels, a recent game that is relevant to Boris’s Grünfeld repertoire.

John Shaw
Chief Editor
Quality Chess

70 thoughts on “Quality Chess Newsletter – six new books and much analysis”

  1. I want to begin this message saying: thank you for this update. Both files are perfect!

    Algo, I understand M. Aagaard when he says that it will not be convenient to convert the Quality Chess books to Chessbase ebooks; but, do you consider the option to give the possibility to donwload the pgn file of any book (without comments) as you have done with the Grandmaster Repertoire 1?

  2. for me the pdf is “broken” too; when you save the pdf you have to check “include fonts as subset” option; otherwise who don’t have the font installed we’ll see only symbols taken from another font…
    there are presets in Indesign for optimized pdf for internet usage (6.8Mb is too big) that includes the “font option” too

  3. Gilchrist is a Legend

    A newsletter of fifty pages is truly remarkable, especially the material on the 6…Nbd7 Najdorf. It seems as if GM6 has created a new main line in GM practise 🙂

  4. @Alberto
    Hi Alberto. A Russian guy typed everything in himself. It is simple theft, not something we condone at all.

    We do want to do something electronic at some point, but it has to be financially viable. PGN e-books are not. Not in this world anyway :-).

  5. @Igor
    The PDF was made in Word. I did not bother with serious typesetting or anything like this. Whenever I had a broken diagram, I just put it on the next page.

    Is it the figurines you miss, or the text?

  6. @Jacob Aagaard
    Hi Jacob!
    here is what i see on my mac: hXXp://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/824/senzaolow.jpg/
    I checked the pdf with Acrobat Pro and the fonts are embedded but the problem seems to be the WinANSI encoding that causes this “reflow”…
    in general MS Office products always produced crappy and non-standard output (html, pdf…) so I think a quick solution can be to use OpenOffice to edit/export the CB .doc (or rtf) to pdf

  7. Thank you for your answer.

    However, I’m not trying to say that the PGN files must be e-books, what I’m trying to say is that the PGN must contain only the games (the movements, without comments) so it will be easier to study with the book and a PGN reader.

    Again, thank you for the last update. It was awesome…

  8. Jacob,

    I’m more of a book person, not an ebook person, but I thought of an idea. Not sure if this is “technically” possible, but maybe.

    What if you built an eBook section on your Website. Like many online databases, you have an Online Board with a built in engine. This would be used to read the eBooks. People can purchase an eBook, and it gives them a key. When they attempt to use it for the first time, they must enter both the Key, and the IP address of their connection. It keeps a database on your server. Subsequently, they log in using just the Key, but when they log in, the server checks the IP address from which the connection is coming from (similar to how message boards pick up IP addresses, where you get the IP address and block it if it’s spam). Both the Key and the IP address must match.

    In reality, how often do people move compared to a book being of value? Is an opening book on the Sicilian Najdorf from 1984 worth much? Not really. Therefore, there’s an added clause. You can contact Quality Chess to change your IP address a maximum of 2 times per purchase, and disable both printing rights and write capability (i.e. Read and Execute only).

    Here’s what then happens:

    1) If a player moves, they can register the IP address change, and maintain their purchase.
    2) If a player tries to abuse it, they can’t do it too well. They can’t print it out. The worst thing they can do is read the book in full, change IP address not because they are moving, but give it to their friend, and then he could do the same thing one more time. It’s no different than a paperback. I could just as easily read Tacticmania in late 2011, and then give the book to a friend of mine, and I of course no longer have possession.
    3) A person can use it from multiple computers within the same house. So I guess the worst case scenario is that 2 roommates are reading the book at the same time. With a paperback, one can easily read it, put it back on the shelf, and the other person pick it up.

    Now I know the people looking for eBooks will howl and scream at this idea because they want some loophole that will allow them to copy and distribute, but the whole point of this idea is to disable that.

    Just a thought!

  9. Gilchrist is a Legend

    I do not believe any publisher should join this new e-book fashion. There are still people who prefer having an actual book–a book with paper and cover, not some computer screen or one of those Kindle things. Not everybody uses a computer nowadays, regardless of what one insists on believing. Many of my family members use typewriters and rotary dial telephones and do not know of books beyond those composed of paper. I myself am in my early 20s and would never use an e-book, and there are many people my age that I know would not either. Also what about chess shops and their business? E-books would not be very helpful to the London Chess Centre or Chess Direct. The additional risk of those who purchase books distributing, as Patrick mentioned, would also create a large issue.

  10. @QC people. Have you thought about setting up a QC public forum? I think this current format is fine though, just an idea.

  11. @James
    I find the forums harder to deal with, actually. I want contact between us and the public, not for the public among each other. Chess Publishing has a great forum for the general discussion of chess books, lines and so on. We are there from time to time, to support this, and Semko Semkov, the manager of Chess Stars is active there as well. Compared to Everyman’s Forum, as an example, it is beautiful. The only thing that makes sense here is for us to be in dialogue with the public, and the current format seems to do this well.

  12. @Patrick
    There are a number of technical reasons why this would not work. There would be simpler solutions to this, and it is not too far from my thinking. But the investment would be significant, and this is not a good moment for us to do this.

  13. Wonderful newsletter, which I had no technical or other problems with in either format. One of the puzzles shows the wrong side is to move– otherwise, simply perfection. Your responsiveness to (potential) customers is legendary, and unmatched by any rivals…

  14. Jacob Aagaard

    Are they really slim? I mean really, really? Have you seen the new book by Simon Williams on the French?

    Compared to

    Less content, worse paper, lower rated author (but still a very good one, so I will not talk about content as this will definitely be a discussion!), worse editing and typeset – all for 20% less.

    Our paper makes the book feel rather slim, but there are lots of content in the book.

    Having said this, we have indeed done one 600+ page book; also by Avrukh. But we simply decided that it was not working. This looked to be 700 pages at the time we made the decision to split it. Financially, everybody would have all the costs of the current books, but we, the author, and the retailers, would not get the full benefit. We could not realistically sell this for €49.98 – but with two volumes, we can reward the big work everyone has done.

    So, obviously it was as much a business decision as anything – but I also find that 500 pages is really the maximum for what I like in a chess book. Beyond this is impressive, but not necessarily very useful. It was 50/50 of these two reasons in the decision.

  15. Gilchrist is a Legend

    I think GM2 was a reasonable weight, but the paper made the book thicker. With the new paper a 600 page book would probably be about 2 cm in height, but it would be more compact. If the maximum limit is 500 pages, it would probably be 1,75 cm. Maybe ideas for the Tarrasch book? 😀

  16. just wondering since the two books together are slimmer than Avrukh’s GM Rep 1.
    Actually, these are great volumes to have, and I may start playing the Gruenfeld myself.

    I also have Simon William’s book on the French, and it’s of lesser quality. It’s a book done in Everyman’s “former” style–that is a collection of games based on the opening. It’s a book, had it been published in 2005, would have fit into 192 pages. Somehow, I don’t think
    repertoire presented quite adds up.

    And, FYI, Everyman is coming out with another Kasparov book this fall. The “blue” series, which is Kasparov’s autobiogarphy. The volume is the first of (at least) three. Interesting that the colors match the Russian flag.

  17. Thanks for the beautiful update, really comprehensive and cutting edge as well this time.
    Now, can’t help to ask Jacob for the ten minutes of my life back thinking of the second puzzle (Aveskulov-Shabala; PGN version) what on earth could be wrong with 1…Bxf2.
    It is white to move everyone!
    Best regards!

  18. @Jacob
    What did you mean with Simon Williams being lower rated than Marin?
    Do you refer to Elo, or to reputation?
    I also wonder if it is good style too compare your books to others…
    Why just don’t you say: Our book is of high quality, there’s much work in it,
    it’s worth the price…There’s no need to seek comparison to other books…

  19. @Mikeel
    You say Williams book is of lesser quality.
    1. It’s a collection of games – is that necessarily negative?
    2. It may not be more than 192 pages, o.k. thats lesser content.
    3. ‘the repertoire’ doesn’t add up – just stated, without explanation and ‘prove’
    I consider this to be not good style to critizise that way…

  20. @werner
    Hi Werner. Comparing to Avrukh not Marin. And there are 100 points between them (good no one picked up on their individual score. I think Simon is at +2).

    I think when we are asked about our decisions, let’s even say challenged, it is fair to show that compared to what our competitors do, it is fair value. I compared to Simon’s book, because my people told me it was an interesting book. I would not compare to something generally believed to be rubbish.

    To somehow infer some kind of conflict into this is to misunderstand what I am about.

  21. @werner
    I think you are allowed to have opinions here without having to necessarily prove them. However, you clearly don’t know the book at all – or you would know it is 340+ pages :-). I don’t like people having unfounded opinions.

  22. @Jacob
    I own the book and know how many pages it has. But mikeel
    said it would have fit into 192 pages of old everyman layout – so I referred to this statement.

    Everyone can express his/her opinions everywhere, but there are what I call bad tendencies especially in blogs to influence others without backing up, in every subject, not only chess. What’s allowed is one thing, good style is another. Books can get kind of a bad reputation just because of rumours in the web…It’s a question of ‘web culture’ not to participate in that. O.K. I didn’t want to say that mikeel does this…But I#m sensitive to that issue…

  23. The other thing to keep in mind is that while Jacob Aagaard is stronger than probably anybody else on this board (other than maybe Shaw, haven’t gone any research to compare the two against each other), that one person’s opinion doesn’t mean the end of the world for a book.

    I seem to recall Aagaard not thinking very highly of Johnsen and Bern’s book on the Stonewall Dutch. I, still to this day, think that is one of the best written books on a chess opening, and still the best one on that specific topic.

    The other thing you can’t really do is use page count to judge. Look at the font size and book dimensions of 90% of Everyman books (i.e. excluding the early Starting Out books, which were larger). Now look at the page dimensions and font size of Gambit Books. Win with the Stonewall Dutch is 223 pages, but compared to the page size and font size of say, Play 1.b4, it’s probably the equivalent of 400 to 500 Everyman pages.

    Everyman has good books (i.e. Starting Out: The Scandinavian, or Attacking Chess: The King’s Indian), Everyman has garbage (i.e. Starting Out: The French, or “Sicilian Grand Prix Attack” – Plaskett)

    Gambit has good books (i.e. Win with the Stonewall Dutch) and Gambit has garbage (i.e. Chess Explained: The Queen’s Gambit Declined – this book tries to explain too much in too small a space – 112 pages of their format – about 200 to 250 Everyman Pages – is enough to cover a few lines, but not all of them).

    While I can’t say I’ve found any “garbage” yet from Quality Chess, I also haven’t bought every book published. I own GM Rep 1 thru 6, Cutting Edge 2, and the books on the Semi-Slav, Berlin Wall, Anti-Sicilians, Experts vs Sicilian, Scandinavian, Beating the Open Games, Tiger’s Modern, and Practical Chess Defense.

    The only gripe I have about any of these books is that it might have been a little more convenient if Marin had included transpositions. In the tables with the footnotes, he could have included footnotes where transpositions occur. Like in the Max Lange chapter, 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.O-O Nf6 5.d4 exd4 6.e5 (put a superscript here) and in the note, put 6.c3, see such-and-such a chapter.

    Other than this difficulty with Transpositions, I haven’t seen a bad book by Gambit, but I’m sure if I read every book published, I’d find a lemon.

    To me, the only judgment one can make on the publishing company is the quality of the paper and/or cover. The content will be the same whether it’s Quality, Gambit, or Everyman, as long as the same person writes it.

    I’ve only seen a couple of books with horrible paper. Everyman’s Book on the Saemisch King’s Indian is probably printed on the worst paper I’ve ever seen in a chessbook published 1990 to now.

  24. GM Aagaard,

    I am a huge fan of Tibor Karolyi’s game collections of both Karpov’s games for your publishing company and Kasparov’s games for Batsford.

    Please, please, please(!) get him under contract to produce a similar game collection for the games of Magnus Carlsen.

    As I write this, Carlsen has just won his second consecutive chess Oscar. Carlsen is the strongest player in the world and will be one of the all-time greats when all is said and done. Yet despite all these accomplishments before the age of 21(!), there has not been much written about his games, except for “Wonderboy”.


  25. Ntirlis Nikolaos


    As for the Williams’ book on the French. I liked his DVDs very much. This is how i like a chess DVD to be. Also i liked very much Williams’ style and decisions about the content. He is practical and the choices of the games he made was wonderful and this shows a lot. I may not like some of his suggestions (i would have made other ones) but in general i am pleased by this work. The material is fresh and in general this is a better book of him compared with other past efforts.

    Stonewall. I was not impressed. There is a large discussion about that book in chesspub with me and a Norvegian player called “Brabo” participating. The discussion revealed a lot of holes on that book. Seeing things now from distance i can say that this was a good book in general (interesting ideas, interesting layout and some chapters were well-written) but it would have been much better if they waited a little and checked again lot of their suggestions. But this is by far not the best opening book by Gambit. I think that Rowson’s “Understanding the Grunfeld” (which is my favourite) cannot be compared.

  26. I’m not optimistic about that new Carlsen book. Mikhalchishin might be a very good coach, but I’ve yet to see a convincing book or DVD by him.

  27. Ntirlis Nikolaos

    I very much liked “Secret Weapons of the Champions”. To be honest i haven’t seen another DVD of him, but the one i have seen made me a good impression.

  28. @Patrick
    Hi Patrick. I have heard this before, and it is simply not true. We work extensively on the content of our books, assist the authors in any way we can. The printing is a very little part of what we do.

  29. I also want to underline another point: I did not in any way say anything about Simon’s book, other than that the guys in the office said it was interesting and that Avrukh is higher rated. This was the only comparison, beside my main point: the amount of content.

  30. Andre :I’m not optimistic about that new Carlsen book. Mikhalchishin might be a very good coach, but I’ve yet to see a convincing book or DVD by him.


    Based on his magnificent work on the Karpov and Kasparov game collections, I really would love to get my hands on a Carlsen game collection by Tibor Karolyi.

  31. We have another idea for Tibor and have already discussed it with him. However, we have not signed anything yet. Probably because we have not presented him with a contract.

    Meanwhile, I seriously suggest everyone to get a copy of Genius in the Background. This is really a nice work.

  32. Jacob Aagaard :We have another idea for Tibor and have already discussed it with him. However, we have not signed anything yet. Probably because we have not presented him with a contract.
    Meanwhile, I seriously suggest everyone to get a copy of Genius in the Background. This is really a nice work.

    GM Aagaard,

    Would you be willing to have an online poll determine the next Karolyi project? 🙂

    I am sure that if he wrote a Magnus Carlsen games collections, it would be a huge seller.

  33. Alekhine Power


    Can you give us more information about “Grandmaster Repertoire 10 – The Tarrasch Defence by Nikolaos Ntirlis & Jacob Aagaard” regarding:

    a) publishing date (Niggemann Germany states 26th August)
    b) can you change cover blurb with more information
    c) insights, excerpts etc
    d) who wrote which chapters
    e) intros, strategies, endings?

    Thx 🙂

  34. Alekhine Power :Jacob,
    Can you give us more information about “Grandmaster Repertoire 10 – The Tarrasch Defence by Nikolaos Ntirlis & Jacob Aagaard” regarding:
    a) publishing date (Niggemann Germany states 26th August)b) can you change cover blurb with more informationc) insights, excerpts etcd) who wrote which chapterse) intros, strategies, endings?

    Are you looking for him to publish you the book before the book is done? Are you familar with the GM Repertoire Format? If it follows the same format as the first 7 (I have the first 6, but I’ve seen the 7th), it doesn’t cover endings. It’s not a “Complete Games” book. GM Rep uses the tree structure. Certain lines may go deeper than others (i.e. 30 moves instead of 15), but it’s not a book on how to defend King and 6 pawns with 3 islands and an IQP vs King and 6 pawns via 2 pawn islands.

    I’m sure they’ll have an excerpt up sometime right around publication time, or sometimes they have something slightly earlier than that.

    Earlier, I put a post that included the following:

    “Other than this difficulty with Transpositions, I haven’t seen a bad book by Quality, but I’m sure if I read every book published, I’d find a lemon.”

    Uhm, there’s a reason I haven’t found that lemon yet. They don’t rush publications like Everyman does sometimes, or Cardoza all the time (they publish the books by Eric Schiller).

    Of course, if I specifically tried to find a below par book by Quality, I probably could find it, but it’s obviously harder to find when they spend more time editing books than other publishing companies, and that’s where Quality’s strength is. I think that’s also what Jacob was implying in message 41, and where the miscommunication was. When I said that the book would be the same for any publishing company as long as it was by the same author, the base content or format would be, but the editing job wouldn’t be, and that’s where Quality beats other publishing companies in terms of “success rate”.

    If they were to rush their publications, they would come out with a horrible project, kinda like any Microsoft product, and their “success rate” would go down. Would you rather see Quality books be like Everyman books, where some are absolutely excellent, but 10 to 20 percent of them end up being absolute lemons?

    I think giving Quality Chess ideas of what to publish is excellent. Quality could use books on the Nimzo-Indian, French, Dutch, King’s Indian, etc. However, when and if they decide to publish any of these, I would rather wait a year for a good product instead of 6 months for a piece of junk.

    Before Jacob says that this was talked about before, I’m well aware the King’s Indian and Nimzo-Indian are in the cards, just no date or scheduled start time, while the French they have struggled to find an author. Hasn’t been much talk on the Dutch (Stonewall, Classical, or Leningrad). Just using those openings as examples of topics to talk about on a board like this, rather than trying to force QC to speed up the process of something that’s already in progress.

    Moral of the story is, hold your horses, and in 3 weeks, you have an excerpt, and if you like it, and have interest in the Tarrasch Defense, buy the book. I myself have played the Tarrasch a few times as Black, and faced it as White maybe 5 to 10 times in my lifetime, but long term, I’d need to do some major work on IQP strategy before using it as a regular defense in my case. IQPs are not exactly a strong point of mine.

  35. @Alekhine Power
    Thanking Patrick for answering, but I can chip in a bit.

    a) Somewhere in September. The book is still in the final stages of writing and editing.
    b) I will when I have the time
    c) They will come when the book is sent to the printer (as always – I only want to make it once)
    d) I wrote them all. But Nikos did the original analysis. However, the last word and opinion on everything is mine, and mine alone. Nikos is brilliant and thorough, but also overruled quite a lot.
    e) Chapter 7 goes deep into the ending. This is the critical line after 9.Bg5. The book in general is quite deep. I like it a lot.

    I think this is my first full fledged theoretical work since I thought up Quality Chess. The last theory book I wrote was Starting Out in the Modern Benoni, which I finished on the morning of my wedding (wow, was I in trouble for that!)…

  36. @Patrick
    Thanks for the support.

    At the moment we have more than 40 books planned, and some additional 10 plausible ones. I sincerely think one of them will be a book on the French. Nothing on the Dutch though, and the Nimzo seems to be far off.

    Later in the week I will put up some more titles in the coming soon section. I don’t really want to discuss our business in public, but the last five days have been the most interesting and intense for us as a business in all of our existence. Maybe some good things will come out of it for us.

  37. Slightly OT and maybe you answered this somewere else whitout me noticing it (if so, sorry!) but were did the 1.e4 GM rep end?
    I can only immagine what a massive task this is to write! 😛

  38. @Cri
    End? You mean begin? We are working on it – well, mainly Nikos at the moment, as I am finishing the Tarrasch. We have a lot of analysis and ideas in both the French and the Caro-Kann, and look forward to writing the book in the autumn.

  39. Thx! I wrote “end” because I didn’t find it in the coming soon list 🙂
    Any idea on the publishing period for the whole project?

  40. Jacob Aagaard :
    Thanks for the support.
    At the moment we have more than 40 books planned, and some additional 10 plausible ones. I sincerely think one of them will be a book on the French. Nothing on the Dutch though, and the Nimzo seems to be far off.
    Later in the week I will put up some more titles in the coming soon section. I don’t really want to discuss our business in public, but the last five days have been the most interesting and intense for us as a business in all of our existence. Maybe some good things will come out of it for us.


  41. Do you have any experience with Khalifman’s books:

    a) Opening for White according to Kramnik 1A

    – Old Indian, King’s Indian and Anti-Grünfeld openings
    – Chess Stars, 2006

    b) Opening for White according to Kramnik 1B

    – King’s Indian Main Lines
    – Chess Stars, 2006

    c) Opening for White according to Kramnik 2

    April 2008: Completely Revised, Expanded Edition

    d) Opening for White According to Kramnik 1.Nf3 Vol. 3 New Edition

    – Chess Stars, 2011

    Can you please answer on the following:

    1) are the mentioned books complete series, i.e. this is “state of the art” regarding the book series

    2) do they build a complete repertoire

    3) how this looks in practice

    4) how do they compare with Avrukh’s repertoire books on 1d4

  42. Yeah, I know. The problem is that I don’t have good covers for everyone of them. And I desperately needed a day off 🙂

  43. Suggestion for a book – The 4.e3 Nimzo Indian written very much in the style of Marin’s 2 books on the open games i.e. almost more of a strategy manual than a repertoire book.

    The sheer number of lines/diffring pawn structures/plans (and transpositions) makes a conventional repertiore book problematic (see Carsten Hansen’s attempt for Gambit for example).

    Given the current solidity of the Queens Gambit I think White will start to allow the Nimzo more and more. With 4.Qc2 lines being analysed to death, 4.e3 is the way forward.

  44. @Matt

    Unless we are thinking of different books, Hansen’s book by Gambit on 4.e3 is not a repertoire book. It’s an advanced book that is objective. Advanced as in it’s mostly lines, not explanations for those new to the Nimzo-Indian as White or Black. Comparible books would be John Nunn’s 2 books on the Classical KID from 1996/1997, or “The Ultimate Pirc”. The 320-page theory books.

    In some ways, I wish the objective approach came back to the forefront, and Repertoires took a step back.

    In many ways, objective books are better than MOST repertoire books (I emphasize MOST, NOT ALL). An objective book does 2 things that a bad repertoire book doesn’t do, and 1 thing that a good repertoire book doesn’t do.

    First off, vs a bad repertoire book, it explains both sides moves objectively. Many “bad” repertoire books will explain one side’s moves (the side it doesn’t support), and for the side it supports, it just says “Play this move”, “Play that move”. For example, a bad repertoire book on the French will say 1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nd2 “White doesn’t want to have to deal with the Pin since 3…Bb4 will now be answered by 4.c3”, 3…c5 4.Ngf3 (4.exd5 is covered in Part 2), blah blah blah.

    Ok, Why 3…c5? Why this instead of 3…Nf6, 3…Nc6, or 3…dxe4?

    Any good repertoire book will have a backup plan. What if the recommended line becomes refuted, or is figured out to a draw.

    Ftacnik’s GM Rep on the Sicilian gives Black multiple options against critical lines (6.Be3, 6.Bg5).

    If you look at Watson’s 3rd edition of Play the French, he gives both the Qxd5 line and the 3…Be7 line against the Tarrasch. The former is in many ways figured out to a draw.

    If you look at Marin’s first book on the English, against the Karpov Variation, he gives both 5.Nf3 and 5.e3. In many of the Reti lines, he gives a line himself, and also points out places to transpose to the Catalan, KID, etc.

    If you look at Johnsen’s Ruy Lopez A Guide For Black, in the Zaitsev, he gives both 17…f5 (risky) and 17…c4 as a backup.

    If you look at Vigorito’s Semi-Slav book, he gives both the Moscow and Botvinnik. If one fails, play the other.

    Those 5 books above are examples of good repertoire books. Books that take you down a narrow 1-way path in critical lines are not good Repertoire books.

    Many books may be objective, but the author tends to favor one side. However, if he prefers Black, and White’s position is better, he’ll be honest and state that White’s better, and not cloud the reader’s mind with wrong assessments just to make it look good for Black. Prime Example: The Ruy Lopez Revisited by Ivan Sokolov.

    What can an objective book do that even a good repertoire book won’t do? Allow you to compare and contrast many different lines. Sokolov’s book allows you to compare all non-a6 Ruy Lopez lines except the Berlin and Steinitz. It’s easier to compare the analysis by 1 author on 5 or 6 lines than trying to compare these 6 lines from 6 different authors’ perspectives. If Aagaard wrote a repertoire on the Classical Ruy for Black, Shaw on the Jaenisch, Marin on the Bird, Vigorito on the Cozio, and Ftacnik on the Smyslov, would you have a legitimate comparison?

  45. @stroll roller

    I own all 5 of the “original” editions from around 2000. They did cover everything needed for White. They did NOT cover every line of every opening. They formed a Repertoire for White.

    Compared to Avrukh’s Repertoire, it’s like comparing apples to oranges:

    Khalifman – 1.Nf3, Classical KID, avoids the Grunfeld (via English lines), Avoids the Nimzo, goes into Marozcy Bind type positions, Queen’s Gambit lines (i.e. QGD, QGA tranpositions to the early Nf3 lines, not e4 lines), handling of the Dutch is not 100% main lines, etc.

    Avrukh – 1.d4, Fienchetto KID, Fienchetto Grunfeld, Catalan (avoids QGD – Orthodox), main lines against the Dutch, doesn’t go into Maroczy Bind positions, etc.

    I know Avrukh supports the 4.e3 “Slow Slav”. Don’t recall what Khalifman recommends. If it’s the same, it’s one of the few overlaps.

    Therefore, you are comparing apples to oranges. I wouldn’t recommend one book over the other due to it being better. Personally, on a scale of 1 to 10, I give Avrukh’s books a 9, and Khalifman’s an 8. However, if I were John Doe on the street, and I really hated Fianchetto lines, and would rather play main lines with no nimzo or grunfeld, even if the books aren’t quite as good, I’d rather get material on what I’d rather play.

    If there was more similarities between the two books, and you were talking a line or 2 difference, like maybe what they play against the King’s Indian is different, but the rest was the same, then I might base it on the better book, and learn the one line that I sacrificed. However, if I were one that hated all fienchetto lines, then Avrukh would be a horrible choice, even if his books were rated 11 out of a possible 10.

    Hope this helps.

  46. Many “bad” repertoire books will explain one side’s moves (the side it doesn’t support), and for the side it supports, it just says “Play this move”, “Play that move”.

    So true! This is something that regularly drives me up the wall and I don’t understand how any author can fall into this trap.

  47. Gilchrist is a Legend

    Of course however there is a problem with an objective book–a 500 page objective book must cover all lines for both sides and will usually be unable to cover certain lines in as much detail as a 500 page repertoire book. The repertoire book will remain focussed on the lines recommended and will generally offer more coverage.

  48. There are two issues, I think. First of all there is now so much theory that it is really hard to do this in a satisfactory way. From the authors side it would be nice to just analyse and give your conclusions, but I think rather than a complete book, 1000+ pages for any main opening, the Cutting Edge format makes more sense. But I cannot say that these books sell as well as the repertoire books.

    The King’s Gambit will give recommendations for both sides, and show why some lines should not be played for White. But a complete book would be ridiculous, with many many lines no one would ever play.

  49. Alekhine Power

    After many King’s Gambit knights have lost nerves during several delays made by Shaw, when will the long awaited book see a daylight?

    Please, no more demagogy!

  50. Yes, it will. We are very sorry and have felt truly disappointed with our own inability to finish this book in time. We are hopefully about six weeks away from sending the manuscript to the printer, with an October publication in mind.

  51. Jacob Aagaard : […] there is now so much theory that it is really hard to do this in a satisfactory way. […] rather than a complete book, 1000+ pages for any main opening, […]

    Just a nostalgic remark:
    Mark Taimanov’s classic “Damengambit bis Holländisch” (1973) dealt with the Queen’s Gambit (Accepted and Declined), the Queen’s Indian, the Bumenfeld and the Dutch in one single volume of 366 pages. One wonders how they managed to play the openings at those times …

  52. Indeed. By the way, it was rumoured that Solsjenshin was imprisoned because he was found to be in possession of this book!

  53. A joke from the time. Actually it was Taimanov that was banned from travelling because he had a Solsjenishin book in his possession when returning from his 6-0 loss to Fischer – which was actually the real crime…

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